Preparing a batch of jam takes you into a bubbling, aromatic, peaceful world from which you emerge with the satisfaction of having turned the season’s finest into a delicious concoction to be enjoyed throughout the coming year.
Peach season is something we only dream about in the depths of a drizzly winter. To be able to capture some of this summer magic and bottle it for those bleak days, is a wonderful thing. White peaches seem to have a flavour unique to themselves and when they are still slightly tart, they produce beautiful jam.
Having recently discovered jam setting sugar, I am reluctant to return to the plain variety. It takes the guesswork out of the setting process, as the pectin is distributed through the sugar for you. If you only have regular sugar, use it and maybe toss in a couple of sachets of jam setting powder (available in supermarkets).
To sterilise your jars, rinse them and stand them in the oven with the lids off at 100 degrees celsius while you are preparing your jam. They can be filled, straight from the oven (with care).
1.6kg white peaches (or yellow if that’s all that is what you have)
1kg jam setting sugar
- Make two long slits in the skin of each peach with a sharp knife. Pour boiling water over peaches and let stand until the skin begins to peel (about 10 minutes).
- Peel off skins, remove stone and chop peaches finely. Weigh chopped mix, you need 1kg.
- Add 1kg of chopped peaches to a large pot and add the sugar. Stir over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Add the butter and increase heat. Bring to the boil without stirring.
- Allow to boil for 4 minutes. At this stage the jam should be set – test by spooning a small amount onto a saucer that has been chilled in the freezer. If it stiffens a little it is ready.
- Pour into hot, sterilised jars and seal immediately. Makes about 5 standard jars.
Postscript: If you have time, package your jars with some fabric hats and paper labels – with christmas around the corner, they make a lovely gift.